TechBytes with Christopher Childs, Managing Director, UK, TabMo

Christopher Childs

Christopher Childs
Managing Director, UK, TabMo

As GDPR approaches, we continue to speak to global marketing technology teams, data vendors, and business leaders to understand how the new regulations could impact their organizations. In this TechByte, Christopher Childs, MD, TabMo (UK) tells us how GDPR could eventually benefit customers, and why you should move closer to your Data Partners.


Tell us about your role at TabMo and the team/technology you handle.

TabMo was founded in France in 2013. I was hired in September 2015 to help set up, launch and then run the UK office. Today our growing team in London is currently around 14 people, which includes sales and platform support as well as our own local creative solutions team; creative support remains at the forefront of everything we do, ensuring our customers are successful as possible with their mobile advertising.

To summarize, TabMo provides programmatic and creative solutions for mobile advertising. We have built our own next-generation DSP (demand side platform), called Hawk, which is the first to combine creative modules with programmatic targeting technology. The platform enables users to apply hyper-local geo-targeting, plus multiple layers of device targeting and direct integrations with multiple data partners. The creative modules allow users to adapt creatives for the mobile screen and to reflect the targeting that has been applied, whilst our creative solutions experts provide ongoing support. We offer a fully transparent and disclosed solution providing full access to our platform whether clients work with us on a self-serve or managed basis.

What is the state of Programmatic Advertising technology in Europe?

Programmatic advertising technology has come a long way over the past couple of years. Header bidding has certainly made programmatic more efficient for publishers, for example, whilst the introduction of ads.txt is a great start in cleaning up the marketplace and combatting ad fraud. There is, however, a long way to go.

In the UK we’re now seeing a huge number of mobile-specific advertising campaigns being activated programmatically, but these are still often bought via IOs (insertion orders) and on fixed CPMs. It seems that when it comes to self-serve a great deal of investment still goes through a small number of players, these often being large multi-channel platforms. Whilst multi-channel strategies are essential, these platforms don’t necessarily offer the most advanced solutions for mobile. TabMo is dedicated to bringing mobile-first technologies to advertisers and helping them to leverage the capabilities of mobile, which is unique and needs its own strategy, both in terms of creative and also targeting.

How does the European market for marketing and advertising technologies compare against the Americas?

The US is certainly the most competitive in terms of the number of players, But although a large number of DSPs start their lives there, this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re best placed for European markets where the landscape is significantly different, and also varies by individual country (with the UK often having more similarities with the US than it does with European territories such as France and Germany).

The level of investment in the US is huge and it’s often hard for businesses moving over from Europe to take a major share of that market. Having said that we are beginning to see more European tech companies succeed in the US.

Data and search intelligence specialist, Captify, for example, has built a significant presence, as has video advertising company (and TabMo partner), Teads.

At TabMo, how do you verify the authenticity of data? How does it fit impact your self-serving programmatic platform?

TabMo is data agnostic and we provide audience solutions from a number of third party data partners.  We go through significant testing with any partner to ensure that the data we use is ethical, compliant (particularly in terms of GDPR) and accurate.

The data we do ingest comes either from the bid stream (location and device level data) or is campaign data (ie. post impression, click, view etc) All data passed to us via the bid stream is closely analysed to ensure it is accurate and non fraudulent. Any abnormal patterns in the data are automatically flagged and if it is deemed to be suspicious then that device is blocked before an ad is ever served.

How would you define Personalization- Segmentation- Optimization, and Automation at various stages of Customer Lifecycle?

Personalisation is about making sure mobile ad creatives are relevant to both the target audience, and the location in which they are viewing them.  Creative dynamic optimisation for example enables creatives to be adapted in real time depending on the location of the device serving the ad. This is extremely powerful for retailers for example, who may have fluctuating prices for different regions of the country.

Segmentation focuses on building audiences based on their location history.  Working with third party data partners (to ensure accurate, independent data), and collecting device IDs from specific points of interest enables us to segment audiences based on the locations they have visited. Mapping this data with offline data enables (accurate) assumptions to be made about the device owner in terms of whether they are target audience.

Optimisation is centred round adjusting campaign variables according to the KPIs (key performance indicators) of the campaign itself. We run a number of footfall campaigns for retailers, where we are driving consumers to specific retail outlets. Our integration with footfall measurement companies enables us to track these store visits in real time and auto optimise to the best performing variable and/or site placements in order to maximise campaign performance.

How do you leverage AI/ML and data science at TabMo? What AI companies are you particularly interested in

TabMo doesn’t have its own AI tools.  While the technology obviously has huge potential, we are aware that AI can be seen as a black box. When evaluating AI solutions, we would always ask what the technology is trying to achieve, and whether it has a direct effect on ROI. It’s taken a long time for the market to truly understand the role that programmatic has to play; I think we’re at the start of a similar journey for AI.

There are cases where AI technology in a simpler form clearly has a role to play in improving advertising relevance. AdYouLike for example, has a solution that scans pages of text in order to distribute ads in real time to the pages where content is the most relevant. We’re working with AdYouLike to make this targeting available for our customers via our platform, Hawk.

How do you prepare for the post-GDPR era?

We work with a number of third party data providers but we do not store the data that they pass to us. It is essential therefore that the providers we work with are GDPR compliant and we have been working closely with all of our data partners to ensure this is the case.

The data that is passed to us via ad requests goes through a process of ‘pseudonymisation’, whereby data is separated from direct identifiers, for example device IDs, so that linkage to an identity is not possible; in other words, we separate the device IDs from the device level data such as location to guarantee that the data cannot be personally identifiable.

One message (more, if available) to all business leaders preparing for the oncoming GDPR disruptions

Understandably there is a lot of concern among marketers as GDPR-Day (25 May 2018) approaches.  But it’s important to remember that measures need to be in place to protect the consumer.

We recommend having regular conversations with data partners, asking them for explicit detail about the processes they are putting in place that will guarantee their compliance, with any doubts clearly expressed in good time.

GDPR will reduce the volume of third party data – but it should also increase the significance of first party publisher data, which can only be positive for the industry.

Thanks for chatting with us, Christopher.
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